Even though there’s plenty to see and do year-round in Sonoma County, the valley really blossoms—literally and figuratively—in May and June, blessed with balmier weather, bountiful farmers markets and an array of activities to suit every traveler.
La Crema’s Mother’s Day Brunch
May 14, 2017
3575 Slusser Rd
Windsor, CA 95492
Mother’s Day brunches abound in Sonoma. La Crema at Saralee’s Vineyard in Windsor, is offering mothers and their adult children the chance to taste the new 2016 Saralee Pinot Noir Rosé with an elegant buffet inside its historic tasting barn; reservations are required. More casual à la carte selections for moms visiting Korbel Champagne Cellars in Geurneville include a coupe of champenoise and a complimentary fresh-cut rose direct from its gardens. And at Keller Estate Winery & Vineyards in Petaluma, a family-friendly three-course Wine Brunch Extravaganza is just $75 per person or $25 for children, who can burn off that extra energy at a dedicated play area while Mom relaxes.
Take Mom on a stroll through the Russian River Rose Company’s grounds in Healdsburg to see—and smell—how the beautiful blooms are transformed into rose water.
Sonoma County Backroad Challenge
May 20, 2017
11800 Main Street
Penngrove, CA, 94951
“The best way to spend a Saturday outside” for seasoned cyclists, the annual Backroad Challenge offers century (100-mile), metric century (66-mile) and half-metric (36-mile) rides through scenic Sonoma and Marin counties, two of which include the Marshall Wall, a 549-foot, switchback ascent. All routes are fully supported in case of a blowout or charley horse, and six-rider teams can take advantage of a discount on registrations. Cold craft brews, live music and barbecue await at route’s end in Penngrove Park.
Book a sports massage at the Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary, which will soothe your aching calves with organic sweet birch and arnica gel.
Sunset Celebration Weekend at Cornerstone
May 20–21, 2017
23570 Arnold Drive
Sonoma, CA 95476
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 125 reviews
Sunset magazine presents its annual Celebration Weekend at the Cornerstone Sonoma wine country marketplace in May, a two-day festival of comestibles featuring celebrity speakers such as Top Chef alum Ryan Scott and bestselling author Michelle Tam, creator of the Nom Nom Paleo blog. Seminars will cover Zinfandels, wine-list secrets from the sommeliers, local whiskies, and “Wine + Design” with eclectic interior wunderkind Max Humphrey. Admission is $35 for the weekend, plus $20 per seminar; parking and shuttle service is available at three locations near downtown Sonoma. VIP access includes preferred parking on-site, a gift bag, and priority access to tastings, as well as coffee, lunch and snacks.
Other events coming up at Cornerstone include the annual Château Sonoma French flea market (May 27) and Traveling Spectacular vaudeville show (June 3).
Seasons of Wine & Lavender
Matanzas Creek Winery
6097 Bennett Valley Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 168 reviews
June is Lavender Month in Sonoma, and there’s no better place to celebrate it than at the Matanzas Creek Winery, which boasts a two-acre lavender garden. The rustic vineyard has extended its annual Days of Wine & Lavender Festival to become Seasons of Wine & Lavender, which celebrates the fragrant flora with winery tours, photo safaris, painting parties, and additional events all summer long. Once you taste Matanzas Creek’s sustainably-farmed Sauvignon Blanc and other award-winning vintages, you’ll want to buy a bottle or two to savor at home, along with spa-worthy lavender scrubs, soaps and lotions.
Raw lavender honey from the aptly named Lavender Bee Farm in Petaluma is not only fragrant and delicious, it’s also thought to help prevent seasonal allergies.
Healdsburg Jazz Festival
June 2–11, 2017
P.O. Box 266
Healdsburg, CA 95448
The 19th annual Healdsburg Jazz Festival gathers some of the greatest jazz and blues artists currently performing in eight venues throughout Healdsburg. Once known as the “underdog” festival, Healdsburg Jazz has become a fixture in Sonoma County, and this year’s lineup features the “hard bop” Heath Brothers band, saxophonist Joe Lovano’s Classic Quartet, New Orleans pianist Henry Butler, French “gypsy jazz” giants the Django All-Stars, and more.
Local restaurant Spoonbar will host two weeknight shows starring Latin jazz torchbearer John Santos and spoken-word artist Rico Pabón.
Huichica Music Festival
June 9–10, 2017
2000 Denmark Street
Sonoma, CA 95476
TripAdvisor: 4.5 stars, 277 reviews
Now in its eighth year, the Huichica (wi-CHEE-kah) Music Festival offers three rustic stages of indie folk and rock with curated wine-and-food pairings from host Gundlach Bundschu, the oldest family-owned winery in California. So chill that most artists stay to sip and socialize after their sets, this year’s fest features more than 30 acts at the 400-acre Rheinfarm, including Joe Pug, Robyn Hitchcock and Dean Wareham, formerly the frontman of seminal slowcore bands Galaxie 500 and Luna.
Parking is free for Gundlach Bundschu wine club members and carpoolers; the proprietors advise guests to bring sunblock and an extra layer for after dark.
Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic
June 10–11, 2017
700 Windsor River Road
Windsor, CA 95492
Up early with the kids? More than 30 fanciful hot-air balloons will fire up well before dawn each day at the 25th annual Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic, to be held at Keiser Park in Windsor, Calif. The balloons—some in the shape of cartoon characters, like a Macy’s parade without the guywires—take flight at 6:30 a.m.; tethered balloon rides, crafts and other attractions continue until 10:30 a.m. each day.
Unable to make it here in time for the Classic? Don’t miss out on seeing Sonoma Country from an incredible angle! Check out Up and Away Ballooning for the best in Sonoma County hot air balloon adventures.